Natalie Jane Imbruglia (pronounced ) (born , 1975) is an Australian singer-songwriter, model and actress.
In the early 1990s, Imbruglia was known to audiences as Beth Brennan Willis in the popular Australian soap Neighbours. Three years after leaving the program, Imbruglia launched a singing career with the international hit, "Torn". The subsequent debut album Left of the Middle (1997) sold over 6 million copies worldwide. While following releases, White Lilies Island (2001) and Counting Down the Days (2005), have been unable to match the commercial success of her debut, the latter became her first UK #1. Her fourth studio album Come To Life, was released on October 2, 2009.
She co-starred in the 2003 film Johnny English and made her leading actress debut in the 2009 film Closed for Winter.
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First of the four daughters to a Sicilian (Lipari, Messina) father and a Anglo Australian mother, Imbruglia grew up on the Central Coast, north of Sydney, south of Newcastle. Imbruglia studied ballet, tap, and highland dancing as a child, hoping to make a career out of it. She also sang in shopping malls and in school performances. At 14 her dance instructor encouraged her to sing with an all girl group but once at the audition, the managers saw that the strikingly pretty youngster with a beautiful voice could make it on her own. They wanted to sign her as a solo act but she refused. "They were like 'we're going to make you a star...' Even at that age you couldn't talk to me like that. I was like 'see you later..'"
Imbruglia auditioned for Australian TV commercials and appeared in spots for Coke and the popular Australian snack Twisties. By age 16, she left high school to start a career in acting. She soon obtained the chance to play a regular role on the Australian soap opera, Neighbours at the age of 16 1/2. Neighbours has also launched the careers of many other successful Australian female artists such as Kylie Minogue, Holly Valance, Delta Goodrem and Natalie Bassingthwaighte.
By the end of her second year, she left the show to move to London, immersing herself in the city's club scene. Refused a work permit, within a year she became bankrupt. This forced her to go back to her passion of singing, something which she had been putting off because she thought everyone would laugh at her because she'd been on Neighbours. Her effort paid off and she was signed to BMG Publishing, after coming up with a demo of the song "Torn" which greatly impressed RCA Records.
Natalie Imbruglia is one of the most successful Australian-born female singers. She has received an MTV Award for Best New Artist in 1998, and 3 constitutive Grammy Award nominations in 1999. She has sold over 9 million albums worldwide. She was ranked #11 on Rock on the Net's list of single artists of the year in 1998, and #76 in 2001. Natalie Imbruglia has tied up her 4-album record deal with BMG after the delivery of her compilation album Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007.
"Torn" and Left of the Middle (1997-2000)
Imbruglia's first internationally released single, "Torn" (1997), was a cover of an Ednaswap song. Instantly the single became one of the biggest hits of the 90s, reaching number two in the UK Singles Chart in November 1997 and number one on airplay around the world and was number one on the Billboard Airplay chart for 14 weeks. The single went on to sell over a million copies in the United Kingdom alone.
It was also released as a radio single in the U.S., but not in buyable CD-format. The single quickly hit #1 on the Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay chart, where it stayed for 14 weeks. At the time, singles not released commercially were unable to chart to the overall Hot 100 chart (combined sales and airplay), so "Torn" made no appearance on it for a while. By the time the policy was changed in late 1998 to allow airplay-only songs, "Torn" was already heading down the charts, so its peak on the Hot 100 only ended up being at #42. The single also topped the Top 40 Mainstream/CHR Pop and Adult Top 40 charts.
In October 1997, it broke the all-time airplay record in the U.K. for being the most played (more than 2000 plays) for six consecutive weeks. It was finally No. 1 for 14 weeks in the U.K. radio chart, a record that is being tied by only Simply Red's Fairground. It was the No. 1 radio single in the U.S. from March to July 1998. It was knocked down to No. 2 by The Goo Goo Dolls' Iris.
Rick Dees, in his Top 40 Chart show also declared "Torn" as the 'number one radio single of 1990s' in their 2000 Millennium Countdown show, broadcast from KIIS-FM on New Year's Eve.
Imbruglia made a surprise appearance alongside David Armand midway through a performance of his supposed 'interpretative dance' routine to sing her hit song Torn at Amnesty International's The Secret Policeman's Ball (2006).
Imbruglia's debut album Left of the Middle was released on 8 December 1997. It sold 350,000 copies in the UK 3 weeks after its initial release and was certified platinum. It sold another 6.5 million copies in 1998. It broke the record of the highest selling debut album by a pop/rock/alternative female artist, more than Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, and Meredith Brooks combined in its first week according to Billboard. The second single released in the UK, after "Torn" was "Big Mistake", which debuted at number-two. "Wishing I Was There" followed and it was less successful than her first two singles, reaching number 19. However, "Wishing I Was There" was a smash hit on the UK radio, peaked at No. 2 in summer 1998, and was a summer smash hit in the USA radio, peaked at No. 14 on the Top 40 Show. The final single from Left of the Middle was "Smoke", and the reception was much more divided compared to the other singles. It was a hit in the UK and made the top 5, while in Australia it just missed the top 40. Eventually, the album became a million-seller after charting well in many countries and entering the Top 10 in the US and UK. In 1999, she recorded a cover of the song Never Tear Us Apart by INXS with Tom Jones which appeared on his album Reload.
Left of the Middle was certified platinum by RIAA within 4 weeks of release (3 April 1998) and was certified 2X platinum in November 1998.
White Lilies Island (2001-2004)
Imbruglia's next album, White Lilies Island, arrived in 2001. Named after an island where her English and main home is situated, the writing process took almost three years to complete in which she co-wrote every track. The album's first single, "That Day," was very different stylistically from her previous singles, but it did not reach the UK Top 10. In the USA, "Wrong Impression" was released as the first single and it enjoyed small success, charting in the Hot 100 Singles chart and the Adult Contemporary chart. The track was also released in the UK as a second single, and it did slightly better than That Day. "Beauty On The Fire", the final single, experienced minimal success and barely entered charts worldwide, and didn't make the top 50 in Australia. The album still managed to sell over 2 millions copies but failed to repeat the widespread success of Left of the Middle.
Imbruglia (centre) in Naples, Italy in 2005
Imbruglia's third album was ready in November 2003. Imbruglia's record label refused to release it due to it being too rock and not radio-friendly. She was later given songs to record with Swedish pop producers, Bloodshy & Avant, which she refused to do. Imbruglia and her record label parted ways at the beginning of 2004. Four months later she signed with a new label Brightside Recordings, which was formed by a former Innocent Records executive, Hugh Goldsmith.
Counting Down the Days (2005-2008)
Imbruglia started working on an album again. In April 2005, Imbruglia released her third studio album Counting Down the Days in the UK with "Shiver" as its first single. "Shiver" was a huge success, and it became her longest running single in the UK since "Torn." It topped UK airplay charts for several weeks, reaching eighth place in the UK charts. It also became the most played song of 2005. The song's acclaim and reception paid off and Counting Down The Days became her first album to reach the top spot on the album charts.
It was decided that 'Sanctuary' would be second single from the album. The promo singles were sent to radio stations. The decision was later changed to the title track "Counting Down the Days", with radio stations being asked to play the album version, because the radio mix was not finished. The single was released on July 25 but it did not have as much success in the singles chart as "Shiver." Though it managed to reignite interest in its parent album, and also received a lot of airplay in the UK. Due to the single, the album managed to re-enter the top 40 in the official UK charts.
Imbruglia had a choice to either release 'Perfectly' as her third single, or use the GBP200,000 funding from BMG to do a tour. She decided to do a small European tour (as she had not done a proper tour since Left of the Middle) in late October and November to promote the album. Though the album never entered UK Top 40 again, she proved once again that she had maintained a dedicated fan base; several concerts, especially those in London, sold out.
The album is the 100th best-selling album in 2005, selling 204,877 copies in the UK alone.
Imbruglia started working on her 4th album in late 2005. In mid 2007 the plans changed and Natalie's record company decided to release the single collection instead. The compilation is a celebration of Imbruglia's 10 years in the music industry. The only single lifted from the album - "Glorious" premiered in BBC Radio 1 on the Chris Moyles Show. The promotion included a special acoustic gig. It can be found on iTunes. The Singles Collection debuted at #5 in the UK Music charts, and boasted 5 new songs, including the single "Glorious", as well as a bonus DVD featuring all Imbruglia's Music Videos. The album has sold around 250,000 copies worldwide to date.
Come to Life (2009-present)
Imbruglia in Bucharest, Romania in 2008
Natalie parted ways with her record label. She is no longer associated with Brightside Recordings. It has been confirmed that Imbruglia obtained the rights to the songs recorded for the album and is going to release her 4th studio album on her own independent label, Malabar Records. Natalie confirmed that the songs included on the record were co-written with Ben Hillier, Dave McCracken, Daniel Johns, Gary Clark, Jamie Hartman, Paul Harris and Shep Solomon. Some of the tracks were produced by Hillier and mixed by Danton Supple, who previously collaborated with the singer on her album White Lilies Island. The album was scheduled to be released in March 2009 with the first single being sent to radio stations in February. It has now been confirmed by Natalie that the first single will be sent to radio around July, as she had a ?last-minute inspiration" and also had some new material offered from Chris Martin . In an interview with BBC Radio 1 she said that "there is some electronic stuff in there". The album is confirmed to be titled Come to Life.
According to The Sun, Imbruglia and Chris Martin of Coldplay collaborated on "a string of tracks, which are likely to feature on her forthcoming album". Martin later confirmed the information. In an interview he said he had asked Natalie to record one of the band's song which, he thinks, turned out great adding "we've given her the best Coldplay song of all time she sounds brilliant on it. I think she has a very unique talent and an incredibly unique voice." Natalie later stressed that she recorded two songs written by him saying "if Chris Martin calls with two songs, you don't think, you say, 'Yes'." It was confirmed that the songs were mixed by Michael Brauer. He also informed that there are actually three songs written by Chris, which were recorded by Natalie and that the album is finished and awaits mastering.
Two songs - "My God" and "Apologise"-leaked to the Internet in early February. It was confirmed that the latter was co-written with Jamie Hartman of Ben's Brother and will not be included on Natalie?s 4th album. A version of "Apologise" performed by Ben's Brother was released instead in 2009 as the first single from their second album, Battling Giants.
Tracks confirmed to be part of the album include "Fun", "Lukas", and "Want", which were mixed by Michael Brauer. The music video for a pre-single track, "Wild About It", was filmed in London on July 25, 2009.
In July 2009, it was announced that the album will be released via Island Records outside of Australia and New Zealand. A record deal for distribution in Australia and New Zealand is expected to be announced soon. Universal Music is set to release the album locally in Australia on October 9, 2009, and New Zealand on October 5, 2009.
According to Natalie Imbruglia's website, the first official single taken from Come to Life is "Want", which was written by Natalie Imbruglia, Daniel Johns, Gary Clark, and Chris Martin. The single will be released on September 28, 2009..
On August 3, 2009 the music video of "Wild About It" was released.
Come to Life was released on October 12, 2009 in Europe. In the UK, it will be released digitally on October 12, followed by a February 8, 2010 physical release.